"in the days of the elder Adams"

John Adams (1735-1826), one of the American Founding Fathers, was the second President, serving from 1797 to 1801. The Adams were a highly political family and his son, John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) would also serve as President from 1825 to 1829. 

John Adams was one of the five men who drafted the Declaration of Independence. In this painting, he stands closest to the table.
Public DomainJohn Adams was one of the five men who drafted the Declaration of Independence. In this painting, he stands closest to the table. - Credit: John Trumbull